To end 2023 on a positive note, here are the outcomes of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, earlier this month.
For the first time in nearly 30 years of conferences (the first was held in Berlin in 1995), the delegates at COP recognized the need to transition away from fossil fuels. “The era of fossil fuels must end, and it must end with justice and equity,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
“A rapid decarbonization of the energy system is the key to keeping the goal of 1.5°C within reach. This requires accelerating the clean energy transition both from the demand and supply side, while such transformation should be orderly, just and equitable and also account for energy security,” says the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Importantly, as the UAE held the presidency of this year’s conference, it took a leading role in launching the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge. The 130 national governments (as of December 11, including the European Union (EU)) that signed the pledge commit to working together to triple the world’s installed renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 and to collectively double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements from 2% to over 4% every year until 2030.
COP28 also saw a landmark agreement to support vulnerable nations facing the worst of climate change impacts, with 78 national governments (including the EU) and 40 organizations endorsing the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate Relief, Recovery and Peace. These stakeholders pledge to enhancing financial support for climate adaptation and resilience, understanding and improving good practice and programming, and strengthening coordination, collaboration, and partnerships. A geographically diverse board will be established, and the World Bank will initially manage the fund. The first pledges from wealthy nations were made in Dubai to support the fund, which currently total over $650 million.
Food and agriculture
A group of 30 leading food and agriculture organizations joined forces to scale regenerative agriculture, partnering with 3.6 million farmers to accelerate the transition of over 160 million hectares to protect the soil and limit carbon emissions.
Some 150 nations have endorsed the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.
In addition, a coalition of 200 farmers’ groups, frontline communities, businesses, philanthropic organizations, and cities signed the Non-State Actors Call to Action for Transforming Food Systems for People, Nature, and Climate.
The delegates also made progress on the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance, which builds on the $100 billion pledged by developed nations in 2021 to finance climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives in developing nations.
Next year’s conference
Baku in Azerbaijan will host COP29.